Retirement brings Pyles close to home
Bob Pyle's work has taken around the country and even into Canada.
But, he is now enjoying retirement not far out of the region in a location he has known ever since he was a boy.
Pyle graduated from Donora High School in 1944. After attending specialist training at Johns Hopkins University, he was assigned to Camp Wheeler, Ga., and ultimately served with the Eighth Army in the Philippines and Japan.
He was discharged from the military in 1946 and attended Washington and Jefferson College and the University of Pittsburgh, earning degrees in geological engineering.
He worked for the U.S. Geological Service in Pittsburgh as a hydrologist. Pyle's duties included measuring tributaries down stream of the Ohio River and sampling them for any sources of water pollution.
From 1953 to 1963, he worked for U.S. Steel in Massachusetts.
Pyle then worked for H.K. Porter in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, until 1966.
It was then that Pyle was named plant manager of General Cable Co. in Rome, N.Y.
After returning to Guelph for three years, Pyle assumed the position of plant manager of Philadelphia Steel. In both plants, it was Pyle's responsibility to make the facilities profitable.
He then joined IU International in Philadelphia. While there, he set up the first hazardous waste remediation site in the country and traveled to plants to help with removal of hazardous materials and stabilize sites. He also set up cells to store mustard gas cans left over from World War I and II from the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.
Pyle spent the last years of his professional career with U.S. Pollution Control Inc. in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Retiring in 1985, Pyle and his wife, Betty, moved to Cape Hatteras, N.C. The couple bought property in 1970 with designs on retiring there.
The couple met through college and work, although neither directly shared either experience.
Betty Pyle was attending California State College at the same time as her future husband's sister. Betty Pyle later taught in Monongahela while her husband worked in Pittsburgh.
In addition, the future couple's fathers both worked in the acid plant at the former Donora works.
The Pyles lived in North Carolina for nearly a decade before moving to Somerset County.
It is an area that Pyle knew, having gone each summer as a boy to a cabin the family built in 1928.
He served on the Indian Lake Borough Council for eight years. Today, he enjoys golf and spending leisure time at his home.
The couple has a son, Robert Pyle, who lives in Atlanta and works in hazardous waste remediation as well as two daughters, Sally Pyle, who heads the honors program at the University of North Dakota, and Sandy Pyle, who runs the nursing program at the University of Georgia.
With part of his wife's family still in Monongahela and the surrounding area, Pyle said he makes it back to the Mid-Mon Valley occasionally.